We are moving on from another Kurban Bayram (Feast of the Sacrifice) where, even if just for a few moments, we were able to forget the negativity – both near and distant -- affecting our lives. Another Bayram where we realize the importance of unity. It just shows that such occasions are perhaps the most vital tool aiding social integration.
Members of the Boğaziçi Administrators Foundation, of which I am one, gathered on the second day of Bayram to exchange festive greetings. Our guest of honor was Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who is also one of the founding members of our foundation. Since the common denominator of the foundation’s members is that we are alumni of the same university, the focus of the conversation was the development of educational and human resources.
Now that the conversation was associated with the economy, the prime minister mentioned “our human resources and geographical location” as one of the strongest drivers of our growth in the 2000s.
WE GREW THROUGH MANUFACTURING
The emphasis on our human capital is important. Unlike some other countries, Turkey did not grow via the exploitation of natural resources during the aforementioned period. Turkey grew by expending effort, working and manufacturing. I believe this to be one of the most positive aspects of our nature that has brought us to where we are today. This attribute will be a vital artery of our economic growth in the future as well. The critical importance of Turkey will keep growing as far as our region is concerned.
I remember an analysis I wrote a few months ago that was published by SETA. I remember it, because these two factors lay behind the focus of that study. The factors are the advantage of demographics and the geographical location of rising economies. Since we are on this subject, I think it would make sense to share the relevant parts of that analysis.
MINT: A BREATH OF FRESH AIR FOR THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
My study examines the MINT group, which in recent times has been presented as a “fresh” alternative for the global economy. This comes as a consequence of the loss of performance by the BRIC bloc in the context of developing economies. I will skip the details and direct my attention to why pointers indicate that this new group of four, MINT, i.e. Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey, will be candidates for the economies of the future.
The human factor forms the basis of why the MINT countries are being considered “the new generation of rising economies” rather than just focusing on the economic indicators of those countries. These countries have a growing and young population… The reasoning is that this demographic advantage will serve as the main propelling force for the group in decades to come.
AS THE WORLD AGES
Based on projections provided by the United Nations, many developed and developing countries will age quickly in the coming decades. In Russia, the rate of new births is already displaying a reverse trend. The population of China is expected to start declining as early as the 2020s. Europe’s situation is clear. The old continent’s populace is also aging. The rate of elderly dependents is at 25 percent currently, and forecasts suggest it will be around the 40 percent mark within 30 years. Japan has already reached the 40 percent mark and finds itself in a dire situation. Forecasts suggest it will be around the 70 percent mark from 2050 onward.
MINT countries, however, present a different picture in terms of demographic progress. While the projection on Nigeria’s population explosion is the most eye- catching, the other three countries are also expected to shine with their young demographics. Projections made in this regard show that Turkey’s working-age population will show an upward trend up to the 2040s.
Another advantage that members of this group share are their geographical locations. Mexico can be considered a bridge between North and South America. Indonesia is attractively located at the heart of Asia. Turkey’s location is considered a serious advantage as it has the potential to be an energy corridor connecting two continents and is also in a region of geopolitical importance. It should also be added that with the exception of Turkey, other members of the bloc have the advantage of possessing natural resources.
Of course, the MINT concept and all relevant expectations are presented within the framework of projections, and as a result could be shaped by a host of variable factors in the long term. Given this, the fundamental message we can derive from all this is that the global axis in the future will again be the economies of the developing world. The continuation of the message is human resources and geographical location will play a pivotal role in the development in question.
Turkey is a front line candidate of new generation rising economies in this context. It is our duty to carry out the challenging and compulsory task of using our wealth in the most efficient manner.
Note: You can find further details in the SETA publication “As the global economy seeks fresh breath.”